N&G Expert Panel – What to Expect in the Newborn Days

This year, we are going to continue to bring you lots of great diapering info to help you along your way but thought we’d also draw on some of the experts that we’ve met over the years.  We’ve got some great information lined up for you to help you with your day to day parenting.  We can’t wati to share!

First up, we’d like to introduce you to Chloe Dierkes of Urban Doula.  We chatted with Chloe and asked her to share with us some common themes from her experiences working with brand new parents.

N&G: When working with parents to be, what are the top 3 things that you tell them to expect in the first weeks with a newborn?

Chloe:

  1. Expect breast-feeding to take some time to establish.  Read a book on breast-feeding during pregnancy so that you are not trying to learn while caring for your newborn (you will not have the time!).  Attend a local Le Leche League meeting (http://www.lllc.ca/get-help) before the birth so you can talk with and observe breast-feeding moms.  Be sure to get lots of support immediately following your birth.
  2. Expect your sleeping patterns to change drastically.  Newborns are often awake more at night than during the day.  This will soon reverse, but until it does, you will have to make up for lost sleep with many naps throughout the day (your total sleep time should add up to the same number of hours as before).
  3. Expect your emotions to be fragile.  Be gentle with yourself and your partner.

N&G: When visiting a family post-partum, what are the top 3 things that families tell you they were surprised about?

Chloe:

  1. How quickly newborns change.  This requires constant adaptation since every solution is temporary and often once new parents feel things are figured out, something else becomes difficult.
  2. How nervous and unprepared they felt.
  3. How difficult it is to get 3 meals and enough sleep in each day.

N&G: What is your favourite piece of wisdom to share with parents to be about the first days and weeks with their new baby?

Chloe: Before your baby arrives, arrange for support from friends, family and/or a postpartum doula.   In our society it is custom to shower new parents with lots of toys, clothes and physical gifts, but in retrospect parents often feel that practical support would have been much more beneficial.   Have a close friend arrange a “meal train” for you, where each night for the first few weeks you have someone deliver you a healthy meal.  Set your own parameters based on what you like to eat and make sure you have boundaries outlining the rules (for example, “please come at 5:30pm, stay for no longer that 15 minutes and do some tidying before you leave”).  Set up your support systems before baby arrives.

About Urban Doula: Chloe Dierkes is a birth and postpartum doula in Vancouver, BC who offers guidance and care for pregnancy, birth and newborn families.  She has worked in childcare for almost a decade and thoroughly enjoys supporting families and helping them to find creative solutions.

Find out more: www.urbandoula.com

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